Cook allays Anderson concerns as tourists eye final Test decider

Frank Dalleres
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ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook expects fast-bowler James Anderson to be fit for this week’s decisive final Test in New Zealand, despite him having to play through the pain barrier as the second match ended in stalemate.

The tourists’ hopes of taking a 1-0 series lead were scuppered by Cyclone Sandra, with rain preventing any play in Wellington on day five as New Zealand sought the 49 runs needed to make England bat again.

Anderson took three wickets in total, bowling predominately into the gusts and amid heel and back problems, although Cook expects him to play in Auckland on Thursday.

“They’re just niggles, a bit of wear and tear from bowling 30 overs, and as he keeps reminding me, only seven with the wind,” said the England skipper.

“Stuff like that goes unnoticed. When you’re watching on TV you don’t feel how strong the wind is, but you only have to stand at slip, thinking he’s got to run into that, and he never really complained – not on the pitch anyway.”

While Anderson toiled, Stuart Broad dazzled. The Nottinghamshire seamer’s six-wicket haul was key to England bowling New Zealand out for 254 and enforcing the follow-on. Following injury problems of his own, Cook believes Broad is back to his devastating best.

“He’s always had the ability to do that,” he added. “In the 2009 Ashes – it might have been his first five-for – he did it there. It was great to see him delivering again like that.

“He’s certainly back to his best, and he ran in as well as I’ve seen for a while. He’s fully confident now with his heel, and it’s great to have a senior bowler back.”